Do you know what "nemesis" means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by an horrible c**t ... me.
From Snatch (2000), a wonderful, funny, violent, cult film made by Guy Ritchie.
History has it that under "Pax Romana", the concept of violence by non-state agents against Roman citizens within the empire's borders was removed, in effect Roman citizens were free to walk
Two thousand years later, Pax Americana as ushered in by the fall of the Soviet Union has been further strengthened by US actions since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Alone among world powers, the United States has shown firm mettle in dealing with threats against her citizens.
The scorecard for anyone looking to launch violence against the US was particularly daunting: on the one side of the ledger, some 3,000 American lives lost during 9/11 against which we count not just the thousands of armed combatants lying dead around Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan but also various leaders ranging from Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein to Muammar Gaddafi last week. About the only terrorist who can still comfortably claim to have launched a war against the US and lived is Taliban leader Mullah Omar deep inside Afghanistan.
United States President Barack Obama announced on Friday that all US troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by the Christmas holidays in late December. Washington currently has less than 40,000 US troops in Iraq, down from an all-time high of 170,000 in late 2007.
As projections of military power go, the post-9/11 period has been one of success for the US. Whilst a number of anti-war and anti-right wing commentators may lament the loss of life and limb - and worse, the loss of the rule of law in the Middle East as the US pursued its retribution - the facts on the ground could be considerably different.
The lasting images that anti-war commentators throw about the Iraq occupation that began in 2003 - such as the Abu Ghraib prison atrocities - are actually more likely to shame and scare fundamentalists and nationalists in the Middle East than spark them into renewed action against the United States.
"That" picture showing a young, female US serviceperson holding a leash over a naked, shivering and terrified Iraqi may well have a different psychological effect on would-be combatants from the Middle East than the sense of shame shown by the American media and its politicians (by and large).
Whether or not this actually proves to be the case depends on what the US does next. And it is here that the other side of the ledger starts showing weaknesses. There are two particular matters of concern for the US now - firstly its own monetary constraints and secondly the lack of any real allies in the Middle East.
The first issue has been dealt with by many commentators - including me in A world without a benchmark (Asia Times Online, August 9) a few weeks ago. This is a long-term issue that may well go to the heart of what the US can and will do with its fortunes going forward.
The second issue is more intractable, to say the least. Popular revolts in the Middle East have toppled the reserve of American client states with outright regime changes in Egypt (the fulcrum of peace for Israel), the execution of Gaddafi last week and lastly with the regime in Bahrain (where the US Navy is based) appearing shaky. Of these, the execution of Gaddafi can be categorized as a substantial victory for the US, as it deals two major strategic advantages in one shot.
Firstly, there is ready access to sweet (low-sulfur) oil, and a viable hedge to any regime change in Saudi Arabia and its sour (high-sulfur) oil.
The second major strategic advantage countering emerging Chinese power projection in Africa. It was Chinese oil producers who were seen to be keen to win contracts from Gaddafi even as his end game with the Europeans started playing out. The victory in Libya offsets the losses of key Israeli allies in Egypt and Turkey and puts the US in a position to treat the Mediterranean as its own pond to play around with.
The other stories are not good for long-term interests - the US has no ability to confront Egypt militarily, while in Bahrain it has depended on the Saudi armed forces along with a large conscripted army of Pakistani military forces to quell the Shiite rebellion. What if elements loyal to the Iranian government launch an attack in Bahrain against the US and Saudi presence in the form of a Shiite spring and a call for democracy?
A useful strategic option may have been to befriend Iran as I wrote a while ago in The value of a nuclear Iran (Asia Times Online, December 17, 2010.) That particular boat has sailed though, and in my opinion, as the US appears to be preparing for an opposite course of action, namely military engagement against Iran prompted by recent revelations of an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US.
While the notion of militarily containing Iran goes back to Pax Americana - i.e., the ability to punish all states that have sought to hurt American interests and lives, the timing couldn't be worse, particularly if no dramatic action ensues in Bahrain or elsewhere (i.e., there is no terrorist attack on US interests in Bahrain or elsewhere in the Middle East).
There is the ongoing weariness over war in the US to contend with. Secondly there are very significant budgetary gaps in the US that render questionable any ability to pay for the war. Lastly, there is the issue of Pakistan that threatens to become an outright adversary of the US even sooner than the Iranians.
Dealing with one, wobbly, religiously-infused, nuclear power is bad enough - but dealing with two simultaneously may be out of the question. Even if the US decides to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and other weapons of mass destruction capabilities first, the risks are immense particularly in terms of next steps by a Pakistani military growing increasingly wary of similar containment efforts on its own favorite nuclear, biological, and chemical toys.
Europe is besides itself with grief over the impending implosion of its economic experiment, the euro. That rules out the French and the Germans from active involvement in Iran - they won't bother to come even if they could as another matter. The Russians are unlikely to want the US to gain a presence on their Caspian Sea borders, so cooperation on that front is ruled out too. China has opposing strategic interests over Iran and therefore will not support the US. If anything, it suits China just fine (as of now) to increase the stakes a little bit in Pakistan and watch the Americans fester in their own impotent frustration.
It seems clear that elements of the Pakistani military in the form of the Inter-Services Intelligence have played a part in deadly attacks on Americans in Afghanistan - precisely the explosive story for which I suspect Asia Times Online journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad was silenced for in May. Unable to protect themselves in Afghanistan and using the "threat" of Iran as the reason not to engage against Pakistan at the present time, the US is now seen to be exiting its vantage point in Iraq.
While immediate assessment of the war in Iraq relates some of the points I made above with respect to Pax Americana, the future view is much less bright. Viewed strictly from that perspective, Pax Americana may now be ending at least with respect to the US presence internationally....
The US president Barack Obama has announced that all American troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by end-2011 as per the status of forces agreement negotiated by the George W. Bush administration. Obama made it sound as if he took a statesman-like decision he made, as if he is keeping his 2008 electoral pledge. But the reality, as Tony Karon of Time magazine points out in a factual chronicle of events, the US forces are virtually being kicked out from Iraq. Obama tried his level best to get Baghdad somehow allow some US contingents to stay back in Iraq on the pretext of “training” the Iraqi forces. But Iraqi opinion overwhelmingly rebuffed the US pleas.
In Afghanistan, on the contrary, Pakistan is going to prevail upon the Taliban not to make an issue of the US military bases. That is the least it could do for the US in return for the deal Clinton stuck. What matters most for Pakistan is that its “strategic assets” are catapulted into power in Afghanistan. The US presence in Afghanistan is something that may even suit Pakistan so long as Washington accepts Pakistan’s primacy in Afghanistan. Arguably, Pakistan may even benefit from the US presence in terms of continued American engagement with the region. Pakistan factors in that the US’s ‘New Silk Road’ project ensures a key role for it in the American regional strategies for decades to come.
The US has come to terms with their defeat. The Afghans have not agreed to any agreement with the US, and I am talking about the opposition, not the Kabul government. So keeping in line with Afghan tradition and national character, the US exist Afghanistan with noting at all. I'm afraid you are highly mistaken here.
The US has made multiple threats within the span of a month against both Pakistan and Iran, and both times nothing resulted from such language. On the contrary Kayani has made it clear, that there will be no peace in Afghanistan with a US presence. He most certainly stated that yesterday, and with a tough election season coming up, any deal between US and Kabul, like between India and Kabul is meaningless on paper.
You forget that the Afghans control the majority of Afghanistan, and have made it perfectly clear there will be no peace until US exists the country. After a decade, and a resurgence to power, they will not backtrack at all on anything. It betrays Afghan national character, and Pakistan's role in this has been exaggerated. They do not have any away with the Taliban as it is made out to be.
I suggest you re-think this analysis because it is highly wrong. Karzai is not Afghanistan, and if you have sources in Afghanistan, you would have known nearly all the tribes, including his own Popalzai have rejected any deal with the US.
The writing is on the wall...
Our mistake started there and it is still there, by not cooperating with Iran and the Northern Alliance. We think that we can keep Iran in check by actually allowing the Taliban forces to have the upper hand. Well, we don’t learn and we sacrifice anything to fight Iran even when we know we are wrong.
Pakistan objective in Afghanistan has to do with keeping its own internal Islamist party at bay by allowing them to control the southern Pashtun majority of Afghanistan and have access to Kashmir Provence to check the Indian forces there.
Pakistan will not and can not compete with Iran In Afghanistan. Historically and culturally they are the same people and speak the same language ....
By Adrian Salbuchi
You bet your ass he's guilty, and we prove it.
Amazing to see so much naiveté about the UN in such a sophisticated man but he sure got the rest of it right...and we will never have a Solzhenitsyn again either. They will kill the next one in Guantanamo or Camp Bondsteel before he gets the prison liberty to write or leave camp to remember....